Saturday, March 10, 2012

Caturday: Living with Pets

I find there are plenty of blogs that mention the challenges of living with children and having a "pretty" home, but not as many mention the challenges of doing so with pets - and boy, are there challenges!  I'm lucky enough to share my home with four cats, which I'm pretty sure qualifies me as a crazy cat lady.  I'm quite comfortable with that fact.

What I'm less comfortable with is the vast amounts of cat fur that somehow manage to accumulate ... well, pretty much everywhere!  There are lots of ways to minimize this, and quite a few products on the market to help with the removal of said hair.  I'm going to talk about what has worked for me.

The first, and most obvious tip is not to let your pets on the furniture.  This may be possible with some well-trained dogs and some very pliant cats.  My cats are anything but pliant; they have minds of their own, and that's part of what I love about them.  So, we accept that we're going to have cats on the furniture, and thus, cat hair.  We even chose our furniture color with this in mind.  I would have loved a pristine white couch (though I'm sure it wouldn't have been long before a glass of red wine found a new home on it) or a nice, sexy black one... but those just aren't practical. Even black fur shows up on black furniture - go figure!  We went with a soft, taupe-y brown couch, loveseat and chair in our living room.  I'm not advocating ignoring a foot of pet hair on furniture, but this does make every little hair less obvious.

Some people use throws to keep pet hair to a minimum on the surface of their furniture. Pet stores (online as well as brick and mortar) tend to carry quite a few throws designed for exactly this purpose, allowing you to simply pull up the throw and expose clean furniture underneath.  I suppose slipcovers could be used similarly, but I'd want to be certain they were washable.

Prevention is fine and dandy, but what about when your lovely beasts have slathered their fur all over your couch?  Double-sided tape is grand, but I find it to be pretty tedious when dealing with a large surface.  3M makes some great lint rollers (I loooove these for clothing!), and I've used larger versions of these made especially for furniture.  These work well, but I didn't think they lasted very long.  Then again, I do tend to procrastinate...

Thank goodness for my favorite way of defurring the furniture: a rubber glove.  Another blog that I read mentioned this recently, inspiring me to pass it on here.  It's so simple that I felt like slapping myself on the forehead once I tried it.  I've tried using thin latex gloves, the type that are used in hospitals and for hair dying, and they worked fairly well, but if your fabric is rough, the friction can get uncomfortable (then again, maybe I'm a wimp!).  I think that using the type of thicker glove that's sold for dish washing would be ideal - just put one on and run your hand over your pet's favorite sleeping spot (which naturally, is every place but his bed).  The fur will come off onto your glove in frightening amounts.  You've seen dust bunnies, I'm sure.  You may find fur kangaroos, with this method.  I swear, the stuff regenerates without a cat touching it.

I guess the good thing is that pets don't usually stick peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into electronics, or steal the car and drive it into the neighbor's tree.  I guess I'll continue to stick with cats for now. It's a good thing they're cute.

Anyone else have any suggestions to make removing pet hair from the furniture easier?  (And yes, that is the pink carpet in the bedroom.  Definitely Barbie pink!)

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